Anyone at 4.0+ without high school or college experience?

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by raiden031, Dec 13, 2006.

  1. maverick1

    maverick1 Semi-Pro

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    "Hard" means different things to different people, I suppose.
    To some, it denotes teh difficulty of making it to the top of the sport. Do you think it is easier to become Roger Federer than it is to be a Badminton or Figure skating champion?

    My definition of hard is the time it takes two beginners to become competent enough have a fun game with each other. In that respect, I found Tennis the hardest sport I played. At first, there were way too many errors and wild shots outside the fences and into adjacent courts. I have never tried skating , but I can see how that would be even harder. It must take a while to even move without falling.
     
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  2. tennissavy

    tennissavy Hall of Fame

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    A lot of the players tend to be like you and goober. They cannot stand when I, with my natural abilities, beat them with all their tournament play experience. I never said anything that is delusional. I beat plenty of highly rated usta league players and for you, perhaps it is delusional, but for me it's reality. It's tough to be you perhaps but that is your problem not mine.
     
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  3. raiden031

    raiden031 Legend

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    I played football in high school and while practicing for only a few months out of the year each year, I was a bench warmer my freshman year and ended up senior year in my HS hall of fame and honorable mention All-State (along with three first team honors at the county level) as an outside linebacker.

    I have been playing tennis off and on for about 6 years (2 years off) and have achieved almost nothing. I get beaten by 60 year olds on a regular basis. I have improved alot in the past few months, but nowhere near the competency I was at with football.

    Needless to say I am nowhere near pro level in football, but could probably hold my own in any flag football league.

    From my experience in both of these sports, it definitely takes alot more practice to become proficient at tennis. Of course football is a pansy sport compared to figure skating so I can't comment on that one.
     
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  4. tennissavy

    tennissavy Hall of Fame

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    Hi Maverick. Your right about the nuances of the term hard.

    I do feel as an experienced skater and tennis player that it is harder to become world champion or olympic champion in skating than it is to reach federer's status in tennis. Skating requires far more perfection to execute the moves than tennis. In this way, tennis is more fun because you can start out a match like a train wreck but pull out the win in the end.
    Anyway, good luck to you. Enjoy tennis and the holidays. Life is too short.
     
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  5. tennissavy

    tennissavy Hall of Fame

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    You just had to take a jab at skating with the pansy remark in your tongue and cheek way. I played lots of football so I can comment on this one. I can tell you skating is much more difficult to master, takes a superior cardiovascular fitness than football, requires so much more control and explosive power, needs much more precise timing...the list can go on quite a lot more. Skaters sustain much more serious injuries than football players and more often. Skaters are also much tougher than most pro football players. So many players are on the injured list and miss games due to ingrown toenails, sprained pinkies, and other minor things. These are obstacles overcome by skaters on a daily basis. Mind over matter, much more than football players. BTW, gymnasts are just as tough as figure skaters in this regard too again blowing away the football crybabies.
     
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  6. raiden031

    raiden031 Legend

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    I was a 3.0 for 4 years but played only casually and a few college intramural tournaments and no actual leagues. I then took 2 years off from tennis and just a few months ago started playing again and played two singles ladders. These were not USTA-sanctioned, but most of the players were on USTA teams so they had computer ratings. I beat a number of 3.0 players who were doing USTA for at least 5-6 years (can't figure out why they never improved beyond 3.0).

    You sound like you are pretty serious about tennis, but still haven't demonstrated that you have this wonderful gift to play tennis better than the average person. This is because you are only going by people who you beat who claimed to be a certain skill level. Perhaps you just had alot of motivation and practiced smart during the earlier stages of your tennis-playing days. I am around 3.5 now, but I probably could have been years ago if I knew what I was doing back then.
     
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  7. fishuuuuu

    fishuuuuu Hall of Fame

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    Raiden, it does happen. It happened in my area, at my high school in particular. The teachers are just looking for an extra five grand to tag to their salary, so, why not "become" a tennis coach?
     
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  8. Topaz

    Topaz Legend

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    Timed matches are a necessity in places where open court time is scarce. I play in NOVA, VA and *all* of our league matches are timed (either 1 and 1/2 hours or 2 hours). Yeah, it sucks, but you learn how to come out of the gates quickly and not screw around.
     
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  9. raiden031

    raiden031 Legend

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    Skaters do not sustain more serious injuries than football players. It is a fact that football is the most injury-prone sport. How can a skater be tougher than someone who can withstand the impact of a 220 lb star running back slamming straight into them at full speed? Yes they wear pads but those pads are not magical. Without them every play would result in a concussion or broken bones. You are exaggerating the injured list.

    There is no denying that skating is much more precise and requires more practice and technique (just like tennis compared to football), but your remarks comparing football are purely ignorant and you give football no credit whatsoever. I'd like to see you after a football game where you can't walk the next morning because every bone in your body aches. That was my typical Saturday morning.
     
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  10. tennissavy

    tennissavy Hall of Fame

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    Well, it's not important that I demonstrate a "wonderful gift" to you or anyone on this board. I don't care what any of you think about me. Now go have yourself a merry one.
     
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  11. tennissavy

    tennissavy Hall of Fame

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    Yes, skaters do but they don't normally complain about them and use them as excuses. You are the one "speaking" out of sheer ignorance. I KNOW what I am saying out of experience.
    I would have traded your saturday morning aches and pains for my torn back muscles, torn hamstring, torn groin and various pulled muscles which affect me to this very day. Even when I am in pain I can usually still play tennis well. It's a comparatively easy sport and if I one day cannot play tennis it will be due to the cumulative figure skating injuries I endured, any of which would have ended most football players' careers. Stop obsessing with me and do some Christmas shopping.
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2006
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  12. raiden031

    raiden031 Legend

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    How is responding to someone's messages in a thread on a discussion board "obsessing with someone"?

    You can have my broken collarbone and you can have the metal plate in my ankle or the screw that went straight through the ankle holding everything together. Just like what Bob Vila showed us all on TV.
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2006
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  13. maverick1

    maverick1 Semi-Pro

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    I am not taking any one side in this debate, but what sport is harder depends on your natural gifts. I haven't played football, but it seems like if someone had a decent combination size, strength, quickness and explosiveness, you could very quickly advance in Football. But these qualities are secondary in Tennis. Good hand eye co-ordination is probably more important than all of those put together.

    I don't see anybody making it to the top in Tennis without having been a top junior as well, and without having played for years and years.

    Football and basketball seem like sports where you can make it out of nowhere within a couple of years if you have physical gifts. I can definitely cite a basketball example. My son and Andrew Bynum played on the same basketball teams from 7th grade to high school. The high school had a losing team in a not-so tough county, and yet Andrew only played on freshman team in 9th grade and JV as a sophomore, and he didn't even have an impact on these teams. There were at least two other centers in the same grade in other schools who were far better. But Andrew grew to 7 feet, got more co-ordinated, and made the NBA straight from high school; and pretty soon he was dunking on Shaq.
     
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  14. boobik2371

    boobik2371 Semi-Pro

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    My dad is a 4.0/4.5 player. He never played high school or college ball since we lived in poland. He learned when he first came here to work while my we stayed back there. He watched in the U.S. and then improved much in poland. And now he is the best over here out of the group that we play with which are 3.0/3.5 guys(He and I both beat them all 6-1 6-3 at most). And I don't say he's a 4.0/4.5 because he beats those lower leveled players. It's because he actually keeps up with 5.0 players and manages to give them a run for their money (my old coach haha). And my pops is 49 and still manages to beat me in 3 sets and im 16 going on 17 in 3 days...I'm a 4.0 player
     
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  15. goober

    goober Legend

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    The delusion is that if you were a 3.5 you would never beat a 5.0 under any circumstances. So either you are really a 5.0+ level player or your opponent isn't a 5.0 level player. You don't seem to understand the ratings system. The only time a lower ranked player should ever beat a higher rated player is if the lower rated player is one level below and represents a very strong player in that division AND the higher ranked player is a weak player in that division. But you making a claim that back when you were a 3.5 you beat a 5.0 rated player is ludicrous. Were the 10 players in one year you lost to 5.5+ level players?

    So if you are really a 5.0+ level player that's great. Tournament experience doesn't make me better tennis player. I don't get embarrassed losing to any player just because they don't play tournaments. There are a lot of good players that don't. I just have a better understanding of where I rate that's all. Before playing tournaments, I like many people over-rated my tennis abilities, because I beat all these players who called themsevles 4.5s.
     
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  16. tennissavy

    tennissavy Hall of Fame

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    y'all need to move on now.
     
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  17. raiden031

    raiden031 Legend

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    Goober,

    Stop being obsessive with tennissavy. I will too. We need to stop stalking him. Lets put a lid on this thread.
     
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  18. heycal

    heycal Hall of Fame

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    I'm not sure why we ever even allowed him to introduce figure skating into a discussion of "sports" anyway. It's an activity that's practiced by teenage girls and gay guys, and while it requires althleticism and stamina, so does dancing, another non-sport. It may be harder to master the Tango than dribbling a basketball, but I don't see the point of comparing the two.
     
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  19. basil J

    basil J Hall of Fame

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    I will be 46 in january. I first picked up a racquet at the young age of 38. My ski buddies disappeared every summer and i wanted to see more them on a year round basis. They were and still are hardcore tennis players most of them between 4.0 and 5.0 players. I got hooked during my honeymoon in hawaii in 2000 where I got a chance to hit with a pro for 2 hrs. per day ,10 days in a row.( my wife is a lifelong player, so she was into it). I got hooked and worked out with a pro weekly for a year and then started playin 3.5 tourneys. I got to the semi's a couple of times and then started playing World team tennis, ladder matches and basically playing with anyone that would get on a court with me. I became a solid 4.0 at 44 years old and now try to balance wife kids, work and tennis. Most of my attention is now on the mental part of the game and conditioning because my strokes are all fairly solid and reliable. I was a life long hockey player, train religiously, and still consider myself to be in great shape, and continue to play against guys 10-15 years my junior. Tennis is a lifelong journey and I am enjoying the ride!!
     
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  20. tennissavy

    tennissavy Hall of Fame

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    Actually, tennis is a game more than a sport. Skating is a sport and an art. Perhaps my skating background is what enables me to beat 99 % of the "straight" men I play in tennis.
     
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  21. heycal

    heycal Hall of Fame

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    Only a gay man puts quote marks around the word "straight" in the context you did, which perhaps explains your disdain for sports traditionally favored by heterosexual men like football, baseball, etc. (For the record, I have no problem with your being gay at all, particularly since it backs up my assertion about who gravitates toward figure skating.)

    The idea that tennis is more of a game than a sport is silly. Billiards is a game. Darts is a game. But tennis is a sport. In any case, if tennis is so easy, why aren't you on the ATP tour?
     
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  22. thejackal

    thejackal Hall of Fame

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    how hard is it to play hockey when you're middle aged? It was my first sport for a long time (played varsity in Canada until I moved last year). Thinking about playing intramurals in college right now
     
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  23. tlm

    tlm Legend

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    I have been playing tennis serious for 3 years now, i play in a 3.5 league.I am on the verge of going up to 4.0.I used to hit arond with the wife a few times a week but it was just dinking around, no serving or real matches.

    In the last 3 years i have been a tennis junkie, i play 6 days a week all year.Play in a league went to a tennis camp have taken 8 lessons + i am considered a good athlete in good shape.I am busting my ass to get to 4.0, i have many good players to play against who are from 3.5-4.5 + i dont know any 4.0 players who have not been playing serious for at least 6 years.

    It doesnt take that long to get to 3.0 or even 3.5, but to get to 4.0 or above is tough.I am talking singles play also not doubles were i see a lot of players that would be 3.5 in singles but can hide in 4.0 doubles with a good partner.

    I am not saying i dont believe tennissavy but he is either one of the most naturally talented players around or plays some fake 5.0 players.
     
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  24. slice bh compliment

    slice bh compliment G.O.A.T.

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    I know two true 5.0s...who did not play in college.

    I used to hit with a guy who is a very successful and popular teaching pro. He played a good level of junior tennis, played basically every other sport in HS, then played baseball in college. Decided against law school/grad school and became a teaching pro. The guy's still really good. Plays his age group and often below. Probably a tournament 5.0.

    There's another guy I hit with who is actually improving in his late thirties. Does not really look like an athlete, but he is one of the finest dubs players I've ever seen who never really played college tennis (He says he made his college team, but never actually played a match...it was a really solid Div. III liberal arts school). He and a good partner play even with guys like me and other late 80's college players. He is tall, poaches like a madman and never misses a return.

    It is possible. But rare to see an accomplished player who did not play in HS or college.
    That said, I know many, many 3.0's who played on their HS team. My wife is one of them.
     
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  25. Championship_Point

    Championship_Point New User

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    My cousin is 4.0 on the dot in playing ability in 6th grade.
     
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  26. Kirko

    Kirko Hall of Fame

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    I've been playing tennis since 1965 tons of lesson from the best Butch Bucholtz , Pat Dupre, & others. I'm a solid 5.0 player. when I moved to nevada I got all the REAL competion I needed. I thought guys that played "organized tennis" were losers.
     
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  27. duffman

    duffman Rookie

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    For what it is worth:

    I picked up a racquet for the first time in 2005. Played Division 1 baseball in college and pick up any sport quickly. I have very good mobility, and work out often with weights. Started at the 3.0 level in 2005 with no knowledge of the game and fielded a host of complaints because I was athletic but my tennis ability was rough around the edges.

    After the adult league season started hitting with a 4.5 buddy of mine who actually worked with me on my strokes and in 2006 played 4.0 (6-2 record) and 4.5 (4-2 record). By the way, this was as a computer rated 3.0 so you can see what a joke that rating system is. Now, I'm rated at 4.0 and most likey will get bumped to 4.5 at the ESR.
     
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  28. shavenstringer

    shavenstringer Semi-Pro

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    I got to 4.0 with good coaching. My wife is a PBI tennis pro and I had lots of free lessons over the last 3 years. So it was easy to progress quickly.
     
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  29. Kevo

    Kevo Hall of Fame

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    Just to echo the sentiments of some of the others about HS play. I actually learned more in the 1 1/2 year of middle school tennis I played than I did in HS. Our "coach" was a math teacher and only played tennis recreationally. She knew the rules and that was about it. She tried, but our tennis game probably declined rather than improved. There were a couple of other schools in our division that had excellent tennis teams, but most of that was the result of private lessons.

    I am probably 4-5x better now than I was in HS. My main problem is mental, and I'm almost sure I got most of those mental bad habits from playing HS tennis.
     
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  30. tlm

    tlm Legend

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    Hey duffman, you picked a racquet up the first time in 2005 + now you are a 4.5?Please give me a break, i dont know were you play but i would be willing to bet you would be blown off the court 6-0 6-0 in the league i play in by the 4.5 players.
     
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  31. goober

    goober Legend

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    Actually he said he is rated 4.0 and will probably will be bumped at the end of season ratings. That is conjecture on his part and he may not get bumped.

    One guy I play with obtained computer 4.5 rating in 3 years from being a total beginner.
     
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  32. shavenstringer

    shavenstringer Semi-Pro

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    Its not impossible. Some people are very gifted physically and mentally. I have a friend who is a solid 4.5 and only started 3 years ago. He only plays a few times a month. The key for him was a good coach who taught him great fundamentals of the game. If a talented person has a great foundation in tennis they can improved rapidly.
     
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  33. Netgame

    Netgame Rookie

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    ---> I started out in my late teens by hitting against a wall every day for a whole summer. I took a while, but I was able to experiment with my swing until I found the most effective way with the least punishment. I really think this gave me an advantage against other late starters.
     
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  34. tlm

    tlm Legend

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    Anything is possible i guess, but i would like to see this 4.5 competition you guys are getting into with only 3 years of playing.I dont think if you played high school tennis or not matters that much, but 4.5 in three years+ only playing a few times a month.

    All i can say is wow, i know some real good players in my area that have been playing a long time but they would have to really be playing a lot to try + hang with the 4.5 players.

    I have played for the last 3 years seriously, 5-6 days a week all year round, play team tennis take lessons+ i am just now approaching 4.0 level.I am a good athlete in good shape but 4.5 in 3 years sounds like a super natural tennis player.

    I used to just dink around with the wife no serving or anything, i did that for quite a few years before i became serious a 3 years ago, so i have actually benn hitting the ball around for a while now.

    Any of the players in the team tennis that i play in that are at the 4.5 level have been playing for at least 10 years if not longer, even the 4.0 players have been playing that long.
     
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  35. goober

    goober Legend

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    people progress at different rates. How long you have been playing tennis has often nothing to do with what level you are at. I know tons of player who have played 15-20 years and are still stuck at 3.0-3.5 level. They play all year round but they aren't really trying to improve and use the same bad technique that they has always worked for them at the 3.0-3.5 level.

    The one guy who posted earlier about a guy playing a few times a month and is 4.5 is from Austria. His rating is a guess, obviously it can't be verified because they don't even use that rating system there.The guy I know has won a couple of 4.5 tournaments and age group 40 tournaments. He has a computer rating so he is legit. But he is unusual.
     
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  36. arnz

    arnz Professional

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    I've only been playing since last month and now I've been rated 4.5, I may be bumped to 6.0...what can I say, I'm a supernatural player :) I've only been playing once every week but I'm one of those people who progress fast. I just got one lesson, learned all the techniques and voila...here I am.

    BTW, anyone interested in a bridge in Brooklyn? Its on sale if you act fast

    Feeling sarcastic today..sorry
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2007
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  37. tlm

    tlm Legend

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    I hear you arnz, some of these boys are supernatural players or more than likely full of b. s.
     
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  38. javier sergio

    javier sergio Professional

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    Congratulations !!!!

    I am going to follow your steps......I'm almost 48 years old now and I share what you said that your best days as an athlete are yet to come......

    I started playing tennis when I was 9 years old for about 2 years, then in my 20's for a about 2 years. Every decade of my life I come back, I started again aproximately 2 years ago with a lot of injuries including TE.
    I hope this year I can get my level to 4.5, that's my goal.

    Good luck in your game !!!!

    Javier
     
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  39. Pusher

    Pusher Professional

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    I've been going thru the Junior tournament "wars" with my son (16) and if there is one thing I have learned it is that there are no shortcuts in tennis-none. There is absolutely no substitute for hard work over an extended period of time with good instruction. A well trained tennis player will beat a superior athlete that is just an occassional player. There is just too much to learn, too many techniques to master.

    I see a lot of people claiming ratings of 4.5 to 5.5 but I'm not buying it. At that level you have most assuredly played a lot as a junior (tournaments) and continued to play or you are a former college player. Rarely have I ever seen someone pick up the game after 25 or so and make that rating. My son is ranked in the top 20 in my state and a 4.5 will beat him about half the time. My son will have the beautiful strokes,fluid movement and pull off some fantastic shots, but an adult 4.5 brings too much experience to the court.

    BTW, high school tennis is pretty much a joke most everywhere-there are a very few exceptions. High school coaches are usually drafted from the school faculty and the chances of having someone with the background to coach tennis is almost nill. Most of the top high school players already have a professional coach so they wil give little attention to the school gym teacher.

    My pet peeve: Juniors that claim they are 4.5, etc. Juniors have rankings-not ratings. Instead of telling me you'e a 4.0 tell me your state, district or national ranking-then we'll talk.
     
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  40. couch

    couch Hall of Fame

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    Nevermind.
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2007
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  41. goober

    goober Legend

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    Maybe 5.0-5.5, but not 4.5. I have met a fair number of people who got to 4.5 (computer rated, not self rated) who started after 25.

    GraniteChief one of the posters on this board supposedly was rated 5.5 at Saddlebrook and has made it to the finals of several Open level tournaments in SoCal and he started as an Adult in his mid 20s.
     
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  42. maverick1

    maverick1 Semi-Pro

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    I don't see why it is so hard to believe that an athletic person starting Tennis at 25 can reach 5.0. There are 50 year old 5.0s, right? (KK is one).
    If you play 25 years of Tennis, that ought to be enough to catch up to your peers who will be 5.0 at 50.

    I started at 43(2005) for all intents and purposes, and it would be too depressing for me to believe that I can never reach 4.5. I don't expect to, but I would like to believe there is a 20% chance, and it is a matter of taking care of my body and staying committed to improvement.
     
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  43. duffman

    duffman Rookie

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    What area are you in tlm? I'm from Norcal aka "land of the sandbaggers". If you are nearby I'd be willing to take you up on that little wager and I wouldn't make it little either. I do almost all of my hitting with 4.5's and occasionally get to hit with 5.0's. In fact, I played a singles ladder match against a 5.0 a month ago and lost 6-1, 7-5 and this was against a guy that went 4-1 as a 5.0 in the 2006 adult league. So unless your 4.5 players are really 5.5 players, bring 'em on!

    Maybe I should have clarified I bit in my earlier post but I didn't think I would get people calling BS. First of all I didn't say I was a 4.5, I'm currently rated 4.0 but routinely beat 4.5 players (4-2 last year in 4.5 league play). Secondly, it wasn't like I just picked up a racquet in 2005, played once a week against some 3.0's and now beatup on 4.5's. Since I started in 2005 the tennis bug bit me hard and I have been playing anywhere from 2-4 times a week since. This, plus being blessed with a high level of natural athletic ability and finding guys that were better than me to hit with has helped me get to my level of play today. I'm still working on my consistency to develop a better singles game, but I have a big serve and volley game that gives a lot of players trouble and I have also found that my baseball background has helped quite a bit in tennis.

    I really don't know what is so unbelievable tlm? If you are athletic, work hard, and have decent instruction along the way, why wouldn't you be able to play at the 4.5 level after 1 1/2 years? 5.0 might be another story, but I hope to be there someday, gotta have goals, right:D
     
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  44. duffman

    duffman Rookie

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    Exactly, doing the same things wrong for 10+ years isn't going to do anything to improve their games. Start with the decent technique and improve on this technique with hard work and dedication really speeds the progression. It also helps to live in an area where you can play year round.
     
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  45. couch

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    Getting to 5.0 without picking up a racquet until after high school is possible. It's definitely not the rule, but there are exceptions to every rule.

    As I mentioned in my thread earlier I am one of those players who didn't play in high school and I have been playing 5.0 for the last few years. The whole key to getting to 5.0, in cases like this, is being a great athlete. There is no way if you're not.

    I started out playing 4.0 without any instruction or anything. I would say after playing off-and-on for about 5-6 years after high school that's when I really got serious about tennis and started playing all the time. I used to play basketball, softball, golf, etc. But then I met a guy playing golf who got me into USTA at the age of 26/27 and I haven't looked back since. I don't even play anything else now. Only other thing I do is workout consistently.

    I am also a self-taught player who has good strokes (except for the occasional high forehand volley LOL) and good athletic ability. I wonder if I would have picked up a racquet after college (when I had the time) and played every day under the tutilege of a pro if I couldn't have gotten to 4.5 after a couple of years. Don't know, doesn't really matter now.

    The fact is that there are exceptions to every rule but they are just that, exceptions. It's fair to say that there are some posters on this board that are just great athletes and have picked up the game quickly. But it's also "very" safe to say there are probably some guys that are FOS too.

    Just my two cents. Who and what you believe I guess is up to you. You can usually tell who is FOS.

    All the best,
    Couch
     
    #95
  46. Kaptain Karl

    Kaptain Karl Hall Of Fame

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    Like maverick suggests -- and couch confirms -- one *can* get to high levels of (amateur) tennis with a late start.

    Our Town Ladder has a 60 year old who is in his 2nd year of tennis ... and he's closing-in on 4.0. (Really!)

    BUT ... he finally gave-in to the fact that he cannot keep playing competitive (Rec) baseball with a bunch of kids half his age. He looked around ... and chose Tennis. He was an excellent all-around athlete. A really good Baseball player, having played AA Ball in his mid-20s, with SS and 3rd his favorite positions.

    On the tennis court he still has some unorthodox strokes. He has amazingly fast and soft hands. He's quick on his feet (especially for 60). And once he gets Knee Replacement surgery finished, he expects to make it to at least 4.5...!

    (That last part *isn't* a joke.) I've finally reached the point that I must admit he's an exceptional athlete, who probably could have "made it" in Tennis ... if Baseball hadn't been his love.

    I would not be surprised if, once he gets his new knee, he *does indeed* reach 4.5 ... at the ripe old age of 62, or so....

    P.S. couch (and certainly this guy I'm posting about) is an *exception* to "the Rule." But it can happen.

    - KK
     
    #96
  47. Brad Smith

    Brad Smith Rookie

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    The ESPN list of sports by difficulty is really interesting and in general I agree withThe ESPN list of sports by difficulty is interesting but there are a couple of problems with the rankings as I see them.

    First, I think the "nerve" attribute is superfluous, and if you're going to have it at least get the numbers right. Yes, it takes a lot of nerve to box, but does it take any less nerve to step in to the batter's box to face a 95 mph fastball, or to go 60 mph downhill at the Tour de France, or to go thru the Olympic downhill at top speed. According to the ratings it does. There are some sports that involve the risk of death or serious injury, and some that don't. I don't think you can really use numbers to evaluate all of those that do.

    Second, there is no attribute that takes the acquisition of technique into account. Some sports (tennis, skateboarding, figure skating) require mastering a great variety of techniques over a long period of time, while others (boxing, ski jumping, football) do not. I think that sports that require more technique are not necessarily harder but they take longer to master. So for someone looking at this list who is a great athlete but who has not played any of these sports (use your imagination), they would probably find some of the higher rated sports easier to play well than some of the lower rated ones. Jason Sehorn is an example of a great athlete who picked up football in college and made it to the pros. There is absolutely no way he could have become a professional tennis player, figure skater, or gymnast in the same amount of time.

    So when people say tennis is hard they are right in that it's hard to become proficient at the sport compared to other sports because of the length of time required to master technique. Speed, agility, and endurance are all great things to have but without technique they do not matter. At the world class level, however, I still give the nod to athletes in the big sports (football, baseball, basketball) over tennis. There have been supremely talented athletes at the top of the tennis world (Becker and Sampras come to mind), but most of the tennis players I can't imagine being world class in any non-racket sport except perhaps soccer. Meanwhile, it's not hard to imagine guys like Allen Iverson, Steve Nash, Derek Jeter, or Michael Vick being world class tennis players. John Lucas (from my alma mater) is a great example of an athlete who played world class tennis AND played one of the major sports.
     
    #97
  48. couch

    couch Hall of Fame

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    I would say that being a great athlete is definitely a key in becoming a high-level tennis player (or any sport for that matter) but you have to have the correct strokes and technique regardless. If you learn the wrong technique I think it can hold you back from achieving a level like 4.5 and definitely 5.0. With the correct technique it's easier to produce the same stroke every time and be more consistent.

    I think that's where good athletes have a supreme advantage because they are able to emulate or learn correct technique very quickly. I've always told my friends and pros I play with that my kids "HAVE" to develop a good "base" when they are young because if they don't it's eventually going to hold them back.

    Another thing that nobody's really brought up is that you can have all the shots but if you don't have the "brain" to go along with it you are going to be limited also. I've seen a lot of talented players who can't construct a point in singles or just don't "get" doubles and that holds them back. On the other hand, I've seen plenty of people that don't have the skills of some players and they use their brains to beat these more talented players. Most of the times these are the pushers at 4.0/4.5. At 5.0 pretty much everybody has a weapon.

    So there are a lot of things that go into becoming a 4.0/4.5 tennis player. I think you have to have "everything" to become a 5.0 (talent, technique, and smarts).

    Pretty good points from a lot of people. :)
     
    #98
  49. Pusher

    Pusher Professional

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    I used to hit some with a wide receiver at a D-1 football program. Great speed and agility but no technique or experience. A local pro rated him at 3.0.
    I've seen a lot of college tennis players that are excellent athletes but they aren't always the best players on their team. I can't agree that an Allen Iverson or Michael Vick would be top ranked tennis players-I just don't think it works that way but I can't say exactly why that is so. My son is a ranked junior and he has been beaten by kids that are lesser athletes. I've seen him easily beat better athletes. I think athletic ability is one of several variables that go into make a great tennis player.

    I've come to the conclusion (along with many others) that tennis is primarily a game of movement and if that is true then how does a tennis player with great speed get beat by guys that don't have that speed? I suspect its the same reason why a great running back won't necessarily be a great quarterback-the ability to think on the fly, to see the whole field, to have a feel for everything going on, to have a plan.

    Tennis is somewhat unique in that you and you alone have to call your own plays, execute them and take responsibility if they don't work. Athletic ability helps but it won't guarantee success.
     
    #99
  50. snoopy

    snoopy Professional

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    I think it's true that there aren't many good tennis players (4.0+) that didn't start playing either before or while in high school. However this has nothing to do with physical ability or lack of coaching while young. It all comes down to time. Those that start tennis after high school are working and probably have families. They can't devote themselves to getting better the way a younger person with fewer responsibilities can. If you started playing in high school you probably spent hours and hours at the courts during the summer. Time on court is probably the most important factor (good instruction being second) to improvement.

    I don't find it hard to believe that a good athlete, dedicated to the game, and surrounded by very good players can quickly (1-2 years) become a 4.0.
     

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